Do you ever get the feeling something is a little off?
You do not know why or how but you are just a little unsure? It could be you just know your child is not going to spend the night at their friend Alby’s or your boss does have a little more information than they are giving you. We call it a gut reaction or sixth sense, when maybe it is simply that we are picking up on vocal clues.
Our voice is filled with body language, just as our posture, eye contact and gestures. These vocal gestures are subconscious, and we are even less aware of them than our body language. We are also amazingly adept at decoding these and that is why they deserve attention when we want to speak to impress.
Here are my five top tips to putting the voice to use so you can talk like a pro…….
- Avoid a monotone
Whilst the most important thing to do is be natural, it is difficult to listen with conviction to someone that speaks in a monotone. That is why we call it droning on. To avoid this ensure you connect to what you are saying, are aware of which are the important bullet points and use your voice to emphasise these by raising or lowering the tone.
To assess how you speak, record your piece on your telephone and play it back. What would you think if you were in the audience? Do you emphasis the important bits? Speak with authority? Sound like you are interested?
- Vary the pacing
In addition to varying the tone, it is important to vary the pace at which you deliver your words. Generally confident people speak quicker than less confident people, but not too quickly or then you sound like you are ultra-nervous or lying. By varying the pace, you can avoid sounding anything other than confident and controlled. Practice is the key to getting this right.
- Sound confident
By varying the tone and the pace you are already a long way towards sounding confident. To get this just right then adopt a confident pose, even if it feels totally alien. Then take a deep breath and lunge right in. This way you will sound like you own your words.
- Project your voice
If you are going to the effort of speaking, then you should speak at a volume that can be heard. This does not mean shouting or raising the volume control, as you will lose all your nuances and sound angry. Instead, project your voice by breathing from your diaphragm. To do this you need to breathe into your stomach, and speak. Practice makes perfect and once you have nailed it, you will do it subconsciously very quickly.
- Powerful pauses
There is a tendency to say it…almost like you read it. Avoid this temptation and instead ensure you give your audience time to digest your words. At the end of every major point take a break. A few beats will let the audience catch up and process. When you deliver an important take home point, break. Then you will allow the audience to feel the impact of your words. This is what makes the great speakers great.
It does not matter if you are speaking in front of a team meeting or in front of many, if you are new or experienced. The power of vocal variety will enhance your speaking experience for your audience, help them understand your message and build your credibility in their eyes. It is an important part of being heard and your words having impact. It will also ensure you do sound like something is a little off.
If you would like help in speaking then book a free call and we can make a plan to move forward…..
Do you want to know where to look or what to do with your hands when you speak? This week’s blog looks at body language so why not check it out.